A look at how the Fed's views on the timing of an interest rate increase have changed

Economic Indicators Associated Press

A comparison of the Federal Reserve's statements from its two-day meeting that ended Wednesday and its meeting December 16-17:

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INTEREST RATES:

Now: The Fed has dropped any reference to waiting a "considerable time" before raising rates: "Based on its current assessment, the (Fed) judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy."

Then: "Based on its current assessment, the (Fed) judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy. The Committee sees this guidance as consistent with its previous statement that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time following the end of its asset purchase program."

INFLATION:

January: The Fed expects inflation will get lower, temporarily: "Inflation is anticipated to decline further in the near term, but the Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent over the medium term as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of lower energy prices and other factors dissipate."

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December: The Fed "expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of lower energy prices and other factors dissipate."